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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

April 25, 2012

NATGEO EARTH DAY RUN 2012: My Friend Bitoy’s First Half Marathon

Rather than be depressed with my not being able to join my fellow 83neans run at the 2012 Mayon 360 Ultra last April 21, I decided to take a run the following day.  Running has a way of making me feel good.  Must be the endorphins.

And what better way to run than to run with a buddy or two.  

Luckily for me, Bitoy, my LG 4 classmate from the Ateneo de Naga High School Class of 1983, was in town, on vacation from his engineering work  abroad. Lately, he has informed me that he has been inspired  to go for longer distances  this year by reading about the Bicol and Bataan exploits of the 83nean runners.  The longest he has run in a race event is 10kms and he has been busy training the past weekends, eyeing the Sundown Half Marathon in Singapore this May 26, 2012.  So, I told him why not run with me the 21 kms this April 22 at the NatGeo Earth Day Run.

Without any hesitation, he said Yes to the invite and I told him that I would  take care of the registration for the both of us.

Excited to run again a 21-km race and also excited for my friend who would  run his first half marathon, I was at the starting  venue in Bonifacio Global City at 3:45am. In  a few more minutes, Bitoy arrived and I gave him the race kit.

Bitoy and I at the start area

In no time, the both of us were ready for the race and we trooped to the starting area.  After the pre-race exercise, the 21-km runners were off to the sunrise.  As agreed, Bitoy and I did a 4:1 Galloway.

Bitoy and the Bicolano Penguin

In the course of the race, we got to wave and say “hi” to a few familiar faces.  One of them is Sharlene , an ex-officemate of my wife in Energizer and  one of the ninangs of my son Marcel.  Knowing that she has been doing a few half-marys already, I asked her when she was going for her full marathon.  She answered with a smile and I made a mental note to myself that I will of assistance to her when she goes for it.

With Sharlene going up Buendia flyover

After more than 2 hours of running, Bitoy told me that he liked the Galloway as this kept him still feeling fresh even as we near 21 kms. 

Then, we saw the finish line and I told Bitoy that I would run a few meters ahead so that I could be in a position to take his picture when he finishes.  After a few fartlek bursts of running, I was at the finish line and in a minute or 2, Bitoy crossed the finish line of his first-ever half marathon. 

Bitoy crossing the finish line of his first half marathon

All happy to finish
The official timer at the finish line showed a time of 2 hours and 42 minutes but my Timex watch indicated a time of 2 hours 34 minutes.   Whatever time it is, Bitoy is happy.  

I am happy, too, knowing that I have helped a friend push a little bit more the envelope as far as his running is concerned. Already, we are talking about what race event he will go at for his first   marathon. Of course, I suggested the 2012 Camsur Marathon.

Bitoy flashing the V Sign

Giving my thumbs up to Bitoy’s latest running achievement

Before we move on, allow me to give  my assessment of the NatGeo Earth Day Run:

+ Plus
ü  A good-looking race shirt
ü  One of the better pre-race exercises.

- Minus
o   No Gatorade or Powerade or any other energy drink  in any of the drinking stations.
o   Poor traffic management

Despite these minuses, our upbeat mood of Bitoy’s latest running accomplishment was never dampened.  After the race, we decided to have merienda and I told him that I would bring him to a place that could not be found in Ho Chi Minh,  Singapore, or any other Southeast Asian megapolis where he has worked. 

This place is Ma Mon Luk, the home of the tastiest mami.

Ma Mon Luk chicken mami

Enjoying the mami at Ma Mon Luk

Sunday, April 22, was truly a fun day for me.

This is who we are.  We equate run and fun.

Fun at the finish line

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